In class we have been discussing the different components of of working memory\short term memory and long term memory. Discussion how these processes work instantly made the disney fan in me think of Disney Pixar’s movie Inside Out and if how they represented the different memory processes in the movie are truly accurate to how we process memories. I decided to do a little research to see what others have found memory processing to be represented in the movie. After some ‘googling’ I actually found an article on Forbs.com that tries to explain and compare just that!
For those of you that think you are too old for the magic of Disney or have made some other excuse for not seeing this fantastic movie; Inside Out is about a girl named Riley who has just moved with her parents to a new home. The movie take place inside Riley’s mind where the main characters or her four main emotions (Joy, Disgust, Fear and Sadness) run the show and help to determine how Riley’s memories are formed. In the movie Sadness begins to cause mayhem so Joy travels through long term memory to try to fix things.
So how accurately does Inside Out represent memory?
Well, in the brain the part called the amygdala is know for the emotions we feel. In this movie sense the emotions run the show in a place they call Headquarters we might be able to assume this is the amygdala. When the emotions have a string reaction to one of Riley’s experiences they press a corresponding button to generate a memory of that experience in that emotion. For example, in the movie Riley tries pizza with broccoli on it and doesn’t like the broccoli so disgust presses her green button to form a memory of broccoli with the emotion of disgust. the memory then pops up as a little bubble colored with the corresponding memory (in this case a green bubble). The bobble then gets sent up a tube to join the other memories in long term memory. This process does have some accuracy to it. For memories to be transitioned into long term memory it often helps to associate an emotion with it to allow for deeper processing.
In the movie, longterm memory is made up of what would seem to be endless shelves of memories all coded with a different color to represent one of the four main emotions. In our brain long term memory isn’t necessarily stored in shelve like formation but more of scattered webs of information that link to one another; branching webs of neurons.
The movie also shows the emotions able to replay the memories from the formed memory bubbles perfectly like a recorded TV episode that wont ever change. As discussed in class, our memory recall is not perfectly accurate. According to the Forbes article “Research by American psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has shown that our minds can be manipulated via a ‘misinformation effect’ that implants false memories.” In reality we are unable to remember all the details of our memories can easily be forgotten or changed depending on the context we try to remember them. Unfortunately it is no where close to a recorded TV episode that we can rewind and replay whenever we would like.
Overall Inside out provides a good basic guideline for an understanding and a visual representation of memory and how it works. However, there are many differences in how our memory processing really works as to how it is shown in the movie.
Sill a great movie if you ask me! For more information or to read the Forbes article for yourself, click here